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Fix-it
US Military. throwing expensive overly complicated solutions at simple problems since August 1945.
Storme
Its a MALP from the SGC
Vertaxis
Wouldn't a pack mule be cheaper?
Kagetenshi
By the time you train soldiers in mule-packing and handling, set up an additional supply line for feed and equipment, and add a staff of veterinarians? I sincerely doubt it.

That said, the article isn't at all clear on how significant the gains are over, say, a manually-controlled vehicle of about the same size and profile.

~J
hobgoblin
Technically speaking, it can be both. It can either follow a controller based in his lidar image, be controlled via a oversized/rugged "PSP", or navigate gps waypoints using lidar for obstacle avoidance.
Fix-it
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Dec 15 2010, 04:03 PM) *
By the time you train soldiers in mule-packing and handling, set up an additional supply line for feed and equipment, and add a staff of veterinarians? I sincerely doubt it.

That said, the article isn't at all clear on how significant the gains are over, say, a manually-controlled vehicle of about the same size and profile.

~J



vs training soldiers in packing this thing, using the software, fixing it when it breaks, supplying fuel and spare parts, and adding staff for tech support?

pack animals are also significantly quieter. and how do you get these things across a river or other body of water?
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (Fix-it @ Dec 15 2010, 05:41 PM) *
vs training soldiers in packing this thing

It looks like it packs pretty much like every other transportation vehicle, so no cost there.

QUOTE
using the software

Using the software doesn't cost money. Licensing might, but this seems a poor candidate for a licensing agreement.

QUOTE
fixing it when it breaks, supplying fuel and spare parts

There's already a supply chain in place for fuel (that's what all the other vehicles run on, after all). As for servicing and spare parts, while it's not impossible that this thing is just filled with custom-made parts it's quite possible that much of the "spare parts" already have a supply chain in place as well. Given all the unknowns, though, I retract my "I sincerely doubt it" and substitute a "that's not necessarily the case" in its place.

QUOTE
pack animals are also significantly quieter. and how do you get these things across a river or other body of water?

You're moving the goalposts.

~J
hobgoblin
QUOTE (Fix-it @ Dec 15 2010, 11:41 PM) *
vs training soldiers in packing this thing, using the software, fixing it when it breaks, supplying fuel and spare parts, and adding staff for tech support?

pack animals are also significantly quieter. and how do you get these things across a river or other body of water?

1. check the video, packing it is as easy as hefting the soldiers pack onto the side shelf and fixing the straps to the rail behind it.

2. it seems to have spare wheels and such in the center section, and one guy was the designated operator (tho i suspect that if it becomes common, every "unit" gets drilled in basic maintenance).

3. its amphibious.
Adarael
Pack animals get tired, can carry less, are prone to moods where they decide they don't want to do what you say, are easily killed, can't be "repaired" at all (given the effectiveness of modern weaponry upon meat), and are harder to train people to take care of.

Yes, it's absolutely cheaper for a modern military to teach soldiers to use the software, to have a dedicated mechanic/armorer, and whatnot. Not to mention that this thing can carry several times as much as a mule. A big mule can carry 200 pounds. This carries 600. QED, this is worth (carrying wise) about 3 mules.

This is exactly the argument that was made in World War I for why forces should use vehicles and not horses. The horse-based forces, the cavalry and whatnot? Well, they got massacred, were slower, harder to take care of, and spooked in the presence of explosions and gunfire. And World War 2 pretty much sealed the deal. Vehicles are hands-down, in all ways, more effective than animals, with the possible exceptions of:
1) stealth missions, for which I question why you'd bring this thing along at all;
2) partisan/guerilla fighters in impassible terrain and/or without access to supply trains.
hobgoblin
and i guess this can be called into service as a stretcher transport, boat or perhaps even cover.
hobgoblin
and i guess this can be called into service as a stretcher transport, boat or perhaps even cover.
Fix-it
I'm not opposed to having additional ways of carrying shit other than packs, but they seem to have taken an ATV with a capacity of 1500lbs, and crammed 800lbs of robotics on it. I hope at least some of that is extra fuel.

QUOTE
or perhaps even cover.


Please do not. this vehicle will have less armor than a humvee, be filled with explosives, munitions, and fuel. most enemies of the United States can spare the hundred dollars for an RPG.

QUOTE
Yes, it's absolutely cheaper for a modern military to teach soldiers to use the software, to have a dedicated mechanic/armorer, and whatnot. Not to mention that this thing can carry several times as much as a mule. A big mule can carry 200 pounds. This carries 600. QED, this is worth (carrying wise) about 3 mules.


I disagree. the point of my post was that training costs and times would be about the same. civilian pack animal courses last about a month.
according to wikipedia, the USMC still teaches a pack animal course.. I have not been able to find how long it is.

QUOTE
You're moving the goalposts.

~J


nope. not gonna agree with that. there are several thousand rivers all over the world. being able to cross them is not optional. not all of them are fjordable, either. the 6x6 civilian land tamer weighs 3225lbs. add 500lbs of fuel/whatever they bolted on, and 800lbs of gear (they will always get overloaded.). that's very heavy.

what annoys me most about this vehicle is the need to shove robotics and automation in everything. we can barely keep UGVs on a road. you're telling me they can now navigate off-road in a time-is-life situation? have a guy with a joystick drive it remotely. drop the LIDAR and computers. use the space for something actually useful to a soldier on the ground. use the money saved to train guys in more diverse ways. like how to use pack animals smile.gif
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (Fix-it @ Dec 15 2010, 07:54 PM) *
nope. not gonna agree with that. there are several thousand rivers all over the world. being able to cross them is not optional.

What the hell part of "would[] a pack mule be cheaper?" deals with river-crossing?

I say again, you are moving the goalposts.

~J
Warlordtheft
You forget that the mainfeature being an RPV means a soldier doesn't have to die driving supplies to his unit under hostile fire. You just loose the vehicle.

A pack mule requires human supervision and will more than likely bolt under fire.
Rystefn
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Dec 16 2010, 01:16 AM) *
What the hell part of "would[] a pack mule be cheaper?" deals with river-crossing?

I say again, you are moving the goalposts.

~J


Any part of a river-crossing that costs money is relevant. Damaged parts, lost gear, lost time/fuel looking for alternate routes...
CanRay
My Uncle had something similar, although it was manually operated. He used it on his farm and land quite extensively and it survived almost everything Canada could throw at it (And, so I've heard from him talking, has been able to handle everything Canada can throw at it.).

That's high praise, BTW. Canada has General Winter as well, and he's a bastard even in Peacetime.
pbangarth
QUOTE (CanRay @ Dec 15 2010, 09:15 PM) *
That's high praise, BTW. Canada has General Winter as well, and he's a bastard even in Peacetime.
It has been this year so far. Poor buggers down south are getting some, too.
Fix-it
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Dec 15 2010, 07:16 PM) *
What the hell part of "would[…] a pack mule be cheaper?" deals with river-crossing?

I say again, you are moving the goalposts.

~J


fair enough. I can't seem to find an itemized per year cost of keeping a mule. I will substitute a horse, which comes out to approx 2k/year. less if you are buying items in bulk, more because hey, this is government contracting. we'll say 2500/head per year. actual mules seem to cost 4000 usd a head, by best 5minutes of googlin'.

land tamers come out at 35k USD at pop, add more for fancy autonomous drive, mil-spec shiny parts, and cost-plus contracting.

I can't find a fuel efficiency number for these vehicles, needless to say, JP-8 doesn't grow on trees.
fuel use costs would vary by unit. so would parts and maintenance. the main advantage to land tamers being you don't have to shovel shit out from under 'em, and they don't cost anything to maintain while locked up in a garage.


TLDR:
Pack animals:

2500/year. ~4000 initial cost. available in-country.
less (let's say 1/4th) payload, more mobile, slower speed.
have to clean up shit.

6-wheel ATV
unknown maintenance costs, 35k+ sticker price, must be brought into warzone.
more payload, less mobile, faster speed.
big fat target

EDIT: interesting PDF on SOF animal training.
CanRay
Yeah, but will the mules be able to understand English or French?

Sorry, that was a problem I heard about in Italy during WWII when the forces there were *NOT* having as easy a time as most people think. I remember hearing that Canadians had to learn how to swear in Italian to make the Mules work.
hobgoblin
i guess some Polish may have helped as well:
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/w...soldier_bear%29
CanRay
Imagine what would have happened in World War I if the Canucks had brought Winnie the Pooh with them to the Trenches?
Ramaloke
I dunno, I guess I see it as an advancement in tech whether or not it is useful now if it catches on the tech will be improved and become more and more useful. This arguing over whether or not pack animals could do the job better is like saying:

"I dont need to learn how to use firearms, people have been using swords for hundreds of years and they do just fine."

Now when somebody might have said that, firearms were clunky, took time to reload, did't do so well in water and had a big mess of other issues as well. Now look at them... any guy bringing a big knife to a gunfight is going to get slaughtered. Same deal here.
Translucent Wolf
The problem here is, you're comparing the vehicle to a mule, instead of comparing to the animal actually being used to transport this stuff right now.

And the animal who's carrying that ruck right now would be a lot more survivable, if he *wasn't* carrying that ruck. He'd be able to move more quickly over greater distances.

And, it's designed to carry the gear of more than just 1 ground pounder. It'll do the heavy lifting for an entire fireteam, and more. Letting that same fireteam avoid fatigue during long movements to / from an objective. It's quieter and has a lower profile than an HMMWV, and costs less.

I'd say it's a nice piece of gear, and I've have have happily given the right arm of anybody on these board ( myself excluded, naturally ) to have had access to one when I was in service. The black cadillacs would have ridden a lot smoother.
CanRay
Technology and Anti-Technology will always be at odds with each other on the battlefield. Each gives a Combat Multiplier. And will be argued as to which is better.

When it comes down to it, what you have in the field when the fertilizer hits the ventilator is the best damn thing you can have.

That's why weapons like the Sten Gun and the M3/M3A1 Grease Gun were both hated and loved by the people who had them. The King of England had a Sten, after all! (OK, that could have been a publicity thing, but I still think it was very respectful.). Would better weapons have worked better, certainly! I mean, having sights that weren't WELDED ON alone would have been an advantage, but they were there, in the hands of the grunts. That's what mattered.

Would one of these autonomous vehicles be better than a mule? Sure. But what if all you have is a mule?

Well, hopefully you can swear in a language that the mule can understand. nyahnyah.gif

I guess it comes down to what I've been told by a few Vets: "If you can, have the better gear. But don't rely on it. A knife is still issued and used at times, and there's a damned good reason for that."

Then again, there is old tech that's made with new tech, like those Vietnam Tomahawks I've heard used a few times in Afghanistan/Iraq by US troops. Ancient design, but made of modern material that can't be broken.
hobgoblin
the STEN, like the AK47, where partially designed to be easy to make and maintain. And later versions cleaned up some of the flaws, iirc.
Mongoose
Lemee add a bit to the comparison

Pack animals:
2500/year. ~4000 initial cost. available in-country.
less (let's say 1/4th) payload, more mobile, slower speed.
have to clean up shit.
big fat target
runs away from loud noises
must be brought into warzone, or purchased (most often untrained) from locals who may be funding insurgents
must be trained to not balk at water crossings
attractive target to local thieves and hungry refuges
death of animal is often extremely harmful to handler's psycology

6-wheel ATV
unknown maintenance costs, 35k+ sticker price, must be brought into warzone.
more payload, less mobile, faster speed.
big fat target
can power / charge electronic devices
longer usable lifespan
amphibious
unlikely to be stolen by locals
probably secondary uses (eg recon drone) with minor upgrades
no emotional attachments
Ramaloke
Well, I guess you forgot One point Mongoose. You can eat a pack animal if you absolutely need to. Other than that, looks good biggrin.gif.
CanRay
The Mid-Marks of the Sten were for various manufacturing tools. The Mk III, IIRC, was developed at a toy factory to use their tools and such, and was actually inferior in some ways. (It couldn't be broken down like the Sten Mk II).

The last model Sten (With the exception of the suppressed version) was actually pretty enough to be used on ceremony (And could mount a bayonet), but still had the flaws that all Stens shared: Weak Springs that wore out far too quickly and Cheap Magazines that were easily damaged.

The AK-47 was designed to handle Russian Weather and Russian Soldiers. I'm not sure which would have been harder on the equipment. nyahnyah.gif The testing of the AK-47, however, is the type of thing I would put a rifle through before I were to put it into a Grunt's hands. But I'm just a lowly Civvie, what do I know?
hobgoblin
concept drawings with buldozer blade or machinegun mount was shown, iirc.
CanRay
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Dec 16 2010, 11:55 PM) *
concept drawings with buldozer blade or machinegun mount was shown, iirc.

*Blinks* Have we forgotten Hobart's Funnies yet AGAIN?
Mongoose
QUOTE (Ramaloke @ Dec 17 2010, 04:54 AM) *
Well, I guess you forgot One point Mongoose. You can eat a pack animal if you absolutely need to. Other than that, looks good biggrin.gif.


True enough, although if food is an issue for a modern mechanized force (such as would use the ATV) they probably have larger concerns.

Another forgotten point- ATV looks somewhat better for transporting wounded soldiers than a mule ride / dragged litter would be
Fix-it
QUOTE (CanRay @ Dec 16 2010,http://forums.dumpshock.com/style_images/greenmotiv/folder_editor_images/rte-link-button.png 09:57 PM) *
*Blinks* Have we forgotten Hobart's Funnies yet AGAIN?


we do. then we re-invent the wheel for every single conflict.

QUOTE
unlikely to be stolen by locals


bullshit. they'll try. you don't leave either the ATV or the pack animals unguarded anyhow.

QUOTE
death of animal is often extremely harmful to handler's psycology vs
no emotional attachments


that is a ridiculous argument. soldiers form emotional attachments to each other as well. maybe we shouldn't send them in groups. they might get their feelings hurt. this was also covered by Bill Mauldin.

EDIT url fix
CanRay
It's a warzone, the locals will try to steal EVERYTHING. Why? Because they're often in such dire straights that they need anything and everything!

And that's not even taking into consideration cultures where raiding from anyone that isn't of your tribe/clan/whatever is not only OK, but encouraged! (And, no, I'm not being racist here. I know of families of thieves right here in Canada. Hell, I go to the wrong neighborhood in Winnipeg and I probably couldn't swing a dead cat without having it stolen out of my hands, along with my pants and coat. And, damn, is it cold outside!).
Doc Chase
Interesting. Looks like they pulled some of the hardware from the ULV design competitions over the past few years.

It's not a bad piece of hardware. It emphasizes reliability and low maintenance and that's a big plus. I'd like to get a hold of their hydraulic drive system to see how it'd work on a regular car at higher speed, but for a long-range recon group this thing is pretty sweet.

Looks like the thing runs off a diesel, and the 'software training' required is minimal - it's controlled like an RC car. The LIDAR is a nice touch, all a mook has to do is wear a 'Follow Me' tag and it'll be like one-ton puppy carying the squad's gear. I wonder how well mounting a 249 on that thing with an IFF transponder would work.
CanRay
One thing I'd like to think about is a Multi-fuel Engine... You're not always able to get access to supplies for LRRPs, and the ability to have it run off anything that burns (As I understand MFEs will do, correct me if I'm wrong.)...

Well... One thing I've always pointed out, it's damned hard to find a place in the world where you won't find at least *ONE* Moonshiner. (Yes, I include "The Sandbox" in that. What, you don't think there isn't a still or five in the Canadian/US bases hidden somewhere?). But there might be an issue of horsepower in that small a power plant of that type.
Doc Chase
That one? Not as much as one would think. It has enough power to run the unit, carry a half ton besides itself, and can charge batteries for around a half company - which is not bad for a recon squad vehicle.

hobgoblin
QUOTE (CanRay @ Dec 17 2010, 06:24 PM) *
One thing I'd like to think about is a Multi-fuel Engine...

That is more or less what a Diesel engine is. One just need to adjust the mixture so that it will self-ignite under pressure.
CanRay
There's Diesel and then there's Multifuel.

From my understanding, Multifuel Engines can use anything that can be gaseous and burns, and is a bit more robust when it comes to contaminated fuels.

Diesel Engines are just undiscriminating, but it needs to be uncontaminated (Hence the need for multiple filters). Again, my understanding might be wrong, and I apologize if it is.

Now, if it was a Petrol Engine, I'd be completely going "WTF! I'm a Civvie and I know that's a bad idea!".
Mongoose
The main reason for filters in a Diesel engine is to avoid clogging the injectors. Particles in the combustion chamber aren't really a concern, but a clogged injector is. The other concern is that not all fuel hoses, o-rings, lubes, etc can tolerate exposure to all fuels. Some that are designed for diesel fuel degrade when exposed vegetable oil, which is why most diesel cars can't run on plain old filtered fry oil. But if you upgrade the fuels pump / hoses / etc (and tweak the fuel comps) they typically work just fine. Older Mercedes vehicles are good to go as is, which is why they are popular with bio-fuel fans. With those cars, you can literally just take used (or new) cooking oil and run it through a coffee filter and put it in the tank. If it gets to cold, the stuff will gel, but that's a separate issue (and true for diesel fuel as well, in extreme conditions).
CanRay
Damn, tricks my Father could have used when he was still alive and driving Truck...
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